WTO Set To Approve Vietnam Entry

After 5 years of seeking to join the WTO, Vietnam is expect to gain entry next month.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is expected to approve Vietnam as its 150th member next month, Trade Minister Truong Dinh Tuyen was quoted as saying in state media Oct. 16. "From November 6-8 the WTO General Council will hold a special session to examine and vote for Vietnam's membership as a new WTO member," Tuyen was quoted as saying by the Thanh Nien daily newspapers.

Vietnam -- one of Asia's fastest growing economies -- has campaigned for more than a decade to join the global trade club, hoping access will further boost trade and investment in the country of 84 million people.

Tuyen, who returned to Hanoi from a 14th round of talks in Geneva on Oct. 14, said the "negotiations are finished," adding that "the fight was very tense" as Vietnam cleared final hurdles to accession.

Under WTO rules, Vietnam would join the WTO 30 days after its legislature ratifies the accession treaty, meaning the Southeast Asian emerging market economy is likely to become a member by mid-December. Vietnam has amended a raft of laws to bring them into line with WTO rules and ended talks with all WTO members who requested them, including the U.S. with whom it signed a market access agreement in late May.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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